Sunday, April 26, 2009

Zoe gets a Brother

Zoe was very excited on Tuesday, April 21, to meet her new brother Calder, who was born the day before. For months I had been preparing Zoe for the baby’s arrival with small details of what to expect. I told her, for instance, that the baby would cry a lot. Whenever we would see a baby while out and about she would put her hands to her eyes and go wah-wah. So when she met Calder and he indeed did started crying, she seemed more amused than upset. It’s hard to gauge Zoe’s thoughts on the new baby, but since we have made an effort not to deny Zoe any attention while at the same time we are showering attention on Calder the transition to a four-person family appears to have not traumatized her too much. It didn’t hurt that Zoe also received a lot of gifts along with her brother, and that the baby’s diapers happen to fit her baby doll. As time goes by we will know better how Zoe will adapt to this change, but for the moment we are jut trying to keep her from poking out a baby eye as she identifies his various parts.

Zoe is growing in many different ways. She is beginning to string individual words together, and her coordination is improving dramatically. For example, she recently put her shoes on and strapped them by herself (on the correct feet), and on her little push-trike she was able to strap herself in, which is slightly tricky. As a two-year-old she certainly has her moments of obstinacies. I’m not sure at what age she will learn to say, “I’ll try it myself, please,” rather than screaming, “Mine,” and yanking it away, but I expect that will go away faster than her habit of completely ignoring us when we are issuing commands. Which is probably why it’s so nice when we ask her to do something and she does respond:
Me: “Zoe, can you pick up that strawberry you just dropped on the couch?”
Zoe: “No,” and walks away. At least she’s not ignoring me.

One of Zoe’s cute quirks is her dislike of tags. All new toys must have their tags removed. Just now I had to cut the ‘only to be removed by consumer’ tag from her doll (which a few moments earlier she had been pushing around in the stroller and repeatedly crashing into chairs). When I tuck her in at night and spread the blanket over her, if I inadvertently put the tag-side toward her she will repeat uh-oh until I turn the blanket around. Come to think of it, this extends beyond tags and into everything that is obviously not ‘part’ of the item at hand. If she is eating an orange she will uh-oh the small, stringy pieces that cling to the side. If she is eating a plain bagel she will uh-oh the occasional sesame seed stuck to it, even though she will specifically ask for a ‘seed’ bagel at the store. I guess she feels that everything should have its place, and that even the smallest items should be dealt with. This world order has not yet expanded to her play area.

‘Life with Zoe: The Second Year’ is hot off the press at my bookstore (
See all the recent (and older) photos of Zoe at
Visit the newest blog in the family at

Introducing Calder

Calder Alan Glass was born on April 20, 2009 at 9:45 AM in Walnut Creek, California. He was 6 pounds, 11 ounces and 19 and 3/4 inches long. He arrived healthy and screaming (a good thing) with a full head of dark hair, and both he and mom Alison are both doing well. On Tuesday we left the hospital and returned home, where we could commence with our sleepless nights and pace the hallways with the new baby in the middle of the night without putting on pants.

Calder’s middle name ‘Alan’ was decided as soon as we knew we were having a boy. It was Alison’s father’s middle name and the name he went by. Alan passed away on October 3rd, 2007. It is my hope that Calder will exhibit many of Alan’s fine traits. The name Calder took a little longer to come by. There were many, many months of indecisiveness and hundreds of names were considered. We wanted a name that had some meaning to us (I suggested Bo, for President Barack Obama, but Barack and family named the first dog Bo a few weeks before Calder’s arrival). We mostly explored authors and characters from their books, my top runner being Roth (as in Philip) or Nathan (as in Zuckerman), who was Roth’s alter ego in many of his books. But as names were rejected, we started to explore places Alison and I had visited together (Zoe’s backup name was Hana, the small town on the island of Maui) and artists. Calder quickly became the front-runner, but even as we were entering the hospital we were thinking of other possibilities. Obviously we settled on Calder, after the artist Alexander Calder, and I feel that the name Calder Alan Glass has a particularly presidential ring to it, so feel free to address him as President Calder Alan Glass. It’s only a matter of time before it will be a requirement.

Photos of Calder can be found at
And don’t forget to keep track of Zoe at

Monday, April 13, 2009

My Little Angel

Sometimes when I get irritated with Zoe I have to remind myself that she is only two. Suddenly I find myself looking at those irritants with amusement. For instance, Zoe has a non-spill bubbles toy that she likes to have the top removed, making it into a sure bet that she will spill it. So my choices are a screaming child or soap spilled on the porch (for obvious reasons bubbles are an outside-only toy). So, I take the top off and a few minutes later she knocks it off the bench. She’s upset but I tell her it’s okay and refill the bubble container. She picks up where she lefts off, but she is in her bare feet which are now coated in slippery bubbles, as is the porch she is standing on. Woops, out go her feet from under her, and now she is sitting in the wet, soapy puddle; and crying because she fell. Think of how much more peaceful my time with her would have been if she had just kept the top on the bubbles. And even though I could have predicted the entire chin of events, it was amusing in retrospect.

I’ve discovered that Zoe understands Portuguese. Our house cleaners are Brazilian and like to hug and hold Zoe, and one of the women only speaks Portuguese. Today she asked Zoe, in Portuguese, where her doll was and Zoe pointed toward the windowsill, where the doll indeed was. I could run other experiments, but for now I will just assume that she understands Portuguese.

I would have thought she was too young, but the words poop and bum can make her laugh so hard she gets a case of hiccups. And if she passes gas she gets this big grin and yells ‘fart’. Until proven otherwise I’m going to blame Alison for Zoe’s sense of humor.

Zoe is playing with my phone (because I made the mistake of putting it down). I have a smart phone with a removable stylus. I ordered special styluses that also have a small pen built into them. We are out on the porch and I told Zoe that she could use my phone but DO NOT REMOVE THE STYLUS because it will fall (not ‘might’ fall) through the cracks on the porch. So she walks the three steps into the house and removes the stylus, then walks back outside and drops it onto the porch and through a crack.

Here are a few things that I find myself doing as a father that I never would have dreamed I would be doing.
• Sniffing her behind to see if there is a poop.
• Holding out my hand to receive a have chewed piece of food that she finds yucky.
• Singing ‘Wheels on the Bus’ in public spaces.

Life with Zoe: The Second Year’ is hot off the press at my bookstore (

See all the recent (and older) photos of Zoe at

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Chronicles of Toilet

I recognize that by choosing to have children I have forgone my right to privacy. And I, once a modest person who only reluctantly used public bathrooms for those lengthier visits, now find myself having to entertain (and distract) during WC visits. But a person can only take so much. During a recent visit to the facilities, Zoe, as usual, joined me. I like to distract her while I am performing, since I will sometimes get stage fright. But a small bit of air escaped and Zoe proceed to chant, “Fart. Fart,” a word I swear I did not teach her. A few minutes later she got distracted by the door, and started to swing it back and forth. Two things; first, two-year olds have a propensity for closing their fingers in doors, so I have to by very diligent (which can be distracting in a negative way). Second, our bathroom is very small and the door will hit me on the knee if I don’t watch out. Zoe, after playing with the door from inside the bathroom for a minute or so, stepped out and pulled the door almost completely closed behind her. Ahhh, privacy. I closed my eyes and rested my elbows on my knees and my head in my hands (I really don’t get much alone time). Then Zoe charged in like a bull, propelling the door ahead of her. Fortunately my head prevented the door from crashing into the wall. I decided I would save all my business for when the children are grown.

Here are a few of our current daily rituals.
  • If we travel from one floor of the house to another Minnie Mouse must accompany us. Going down she gets tossed from the top step, and with every bounce I must say, “Ouch.” If I am not around than she does the ‘ouch’ part for me. On the way up Minnie has to hop, but I’ve streamlined the process by making her do one giant hop from the bottom to the top.
  • At meal times Zoe has to get her own placemat from the drawer. It doesn’t matter if there is one at her seat, she will get a new one.
  • When we pull on a pair of pants we have to let her pull up the front. It’s a concession on both our parts; ours so she is participating in the getting dressed process, and hers because she wants to do it herself but knows she will just get frustrated when both legs get stuck in one leg hole.
  • I can lift her into the car, but she has to climb into her car seat herself. I can latch the bottom portion of the seatbelt, but she has to do the top. If you forget and latch it, it must be unlatched so she can do it herself.
  • Onesie pajamas; we do the bottom two thirds of the zipper and she has to finish. Forget and you have to unzipper and start again.
  • We now do animal teatime. Animal teatime consists of putting the small, plastic farm and zoo animals into the teacups. “I’ll have a cup of giraffe tea, please.” The sugar is a little person, so we usually have little girl sugar.
There are many more, but I’ll save them for another day when I can’t think of anything else to write about.

Don’t forget to pick up you copy of ‘Life with Zoe: The Second Year’ at my bookstore (

You can also catch recent (and older) photos of Zoe at